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196          MY    COUNTRY    AND    MY    PEOPLE

and sell them all over the country, and they will open up the
hidden treasures of the earth on their own enterprise and
initiative. Opium will cease to be grown because no one
forces them to, and will become extinct automatically. And
they will have saved enough to provide against all temporary
floods and famines. Let there be no tax bureau with the sign-
board, "Enriching the nation and fattening the people," and
the nation will grow rich and the people will grow fat.


The most striking characteristic in our political life as a
nation is the absence of a constitution and of the idea of civil
rights.  This is possible only because of a different social and
political philosophy, which mixes morals with politics and is a
philosophy of moral harmony rather than a philosophy of
force.  A "constitution" presupposes that our rulers might be
crooks who might abuse their power and violate our "rights,"
which we use the constitution as a weapon to defend.   The
Chinese conception of government is the direct opposite of this
supposition.   It is known as a "parental government" or
"government by gentlemen," who are supposed to look after
the people's interests as parents look after their children's
interests, and to whom we give a free hand and in whom we
place an unbounded confidence.  In these people's hands we
place millions without asking for a report of expenditure and to
these people we give unlimited official power without the
thought of safeguarding ourselves. We treat them like gentle-

There could be no finer, juster and more acute criticism of
this government by gentlemen than what was written twenty-
one hundred years ago by Hanfeitse, a philosopher of the
"legalist school" (fachia) who lived about three centuries after
Confucius. As the last and also the greatest of this school, he
stood for a government by law, instead of a government by
persons. His analysis of the evils of this personal government
is so acute, and his pictures of Chinese political life of his day
are so strikingly appropriate for modern China, that he would